True mangrove trees grow in tropical, inter-tidal areas and have the unique ability to survive a daily flooding with salt water that would spell death for other trees. Mangroves need to be able to cope with both sea water and freshwater. To do this, arching stilt-roots lift the plant out of the salty water and various clever methods are employed to either filter out or exclude the salt. The seeds of these mangroves germinate whilst still on the plant, before falling from the tree and floating away on the tide, which makes them viviparous plants.
Scientific name: Rhizophora
Warty growths are at the root of the mangrove's survival.
Most trees can't survive in water that has too much salt in it, but Australia's red mangrove trees have a unique adaptation for dealing with the sea's salty assault. Warty growths on its roots take in oxygen when above water, and filter out salt when submerged.
Supporting a wealth of wildlife, the mangroves are a unique habitat.
Mangroves are like botanical amphibians, and form some of the most productive ecosystems on Earth. They provide food, shelter, firewood and construction materials that have been harvested sustainably for thousands of years. However, in the last 30 years we have lost 20% of mangrove forests around the world through pollution, coastal construction and, most significantly, shrimp farming which alone represents a quarter of the destruction. Mangroves have seen recent respite in some areas though, since their ability to protect coastlines was noticed following the 2004 tsunami. Grassroots efforts to save mangroves areas from development are now gaining popular support.
Rhizophora is a genus of tropical mangrove trees, sometimes collectively called true mangroves. The most notable species is the Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) but some other species and a few natural hybrids are known. Rhizophora species generally live in intertidal zones which are indundated daily by the ocean. They exhibit a number of adaptations to this environment, including stilt-roots that elevate the plants above the water and allow them to respire oxygen even while their lower roots are submerged, and a cytological molecular "pump" mechanism that allows them to remove excess salts from their cells. The generic name is derived from the Greek words ριζα (rhiza), meaning "root," and φορος (phoros), meaning "bearing," referring to the stilt-roots.
The beetle Poecilips fallax is a common pest of these trees.
The Red Mangrove is the state tree of Delta Amacuro in Venezuela; a dark brown dye can be produced from it, which is used in Tongan ngatu cloth production.
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